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Lifeforce Chapter 40

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate,
I am the captain of my soul.

William Ernest Henley

The Braided Lombax

Fergus walked. The ache in his body was all the more apparent. He was aware of the crack in his leg bone and his ribs, the bruises paining his arms. Yet as he walked, he felt...clear. He did not feel torment or anger, or coldness. He felt oddly light. He knew his way ahead, and for some reason the pain in both his heart and body seemed to ease.

Fergus looked around himself, at the remains of the city. He did not recognize some home he missed. To him, 'home' was a silly sentiment. He didn't feel different depending on the place he was in. Still...he had been used to Fastoon. The emptiness threatened to spill on him, to make him shudder – but it didn't. He would have smirked had he felt anything. Even this incident hadn't made him feel patriotic.

Fergus continued walking; his pace slow and steady. The quietness weighed down on him. He had an odd feeling; that feeling you get when you're the last person left in the room after a party or something. The irking feeling to leave as well.

The braided lombax's fingers where curled into fists, not tight or gripping. Just walking, feeling clearer than he had every remembered. Yet at the same time, he felt...tired. He felt heavy.

It was the closest thing to being happy that he'd ever felt, in a way.

That's not true. You where happy with them.

But 'them' no longer existed. There was just him, like there had been all those years ago. Scratch-less and surviving when so many others died. But not this time.

He passed a corner, and spotted a flattened rock, or brick, or whatever it was it lay nearby. Nearby Fergus spotted a bottle, remarkably still intact. He realized how badly he was limping and slid down to sit on the rock, soundlessly. He didn't care about the pain.

He reached down and plucked the bottle from the ground, and by instinct raised it to his lips. He'd been so thirsty for hours...but suddenly his throat felt sickly. Fergus opened his eyes and glanced at the tipped bottle.

Then, he stood up, eyeing the green glass. With a swift flick of the wrist, he smashed it against the stone, and lifted the sharp remains.

Fergus walked on, gripping the sharp glass until it dug threateningly into his fingers. He heard the crackle of fire, and sure enough, on passing around the corner, he found the remains of a building lying at his feet, burning heartily like a camp fire.

Fergus stared at the flames, feeling the heat on his skin. His fur brushed back a little, and his eyes stung a bit from it. But he didn't back away.

His braid prodded the side of his jaw, gently. Fergus slowly reached up and took hold of it. Years, he'd carried this thing. Always hanging by him. He didn't know why, but he made up his mind and lifted the shattered glass in his other hand.

Fergus sliced the braid from his head. It dangled between his fingers, still intact, pale and flopping. Fergus stared at it; the side of his head felt oddly bare. But not in a way that he'd miss.

Slowly, he tossed the braid into the flames, and watched it shrivel and darken into ash.


His head whipped around. He could hear an oh-so familiar voice carrying on the air; grating, high-pitched and furious. Fergus began walking towards it.

They had been scared of him, all those running. He understood why. How couldn't you be repulsed by such a terrible person? But Fergus wasn't afraid. Not even unnerved. Perhaps he was losing the place, but he just did not care. Everything was muted.

The next corner; the rubble made a mockery of a path before him. The voice was clear now, sharp and grating. Fergus's forehead wrinkled as his ears strained at hearing it. He was berating his troopers, sounding very much like a spoiled child.

Fergus drew closer to the corner. He could see the elbow of one of the fish-creature's suits. He passed around it. They were standing, facing towards the left. A giant walking throne surrounded by five or six soldiers, and the grub at the helm leering down at them. They stood near the deep canyons – it seemed any bridges that had been here where demolished.

At last, Fergus stopped. He waited, almost feeling a weird amusement as he waited to be seen.

The side of Tachyon's face that he could see looked misshapen and strained at the skin. Never had Fergus seen him look so ugly, and it wasn't just the flesh. Fergus leaned back, his head tilting. He kept his posture slack.

Tachyon caught sight of him out of the corner of his eye at last, and his head jerked his way. For a second he stared at him, eyes bulging...then they narrowed.


The fish gurgled in alarm, and cocked the weapons – but did not fire. Fergus didn't flinch. He couldn't spot the smirk curling on his face, faintly.

"Welcome home, you little bastard."

Tachyon's hands curled into fists. Then he pushed a hideous grin onto his face; or what was meant to be one – it looked more like a snarl. "Home? You mean this ball of rubble floating in space that your race once called so?"

Fergus chuckled. He couldn't help it. The smugness disappeared from the cragmite's face, and Fergus felt the fire in his chest rise at seeing it. "Well I have to say, you almost had me fooled."

"What?!" Tachyon snapped irritably, glowering. Fergus paced to the left a little, absently swinging an arm.

"Oh, you know. For years you put up your act, believing it yourself at times, I could see it. People looked down on me for being so harsh, so mean." He tilted his head left and right, imitating a pathetic high-pitched version of past scolding. "Meanie Fergus being insensitive to poor smart little Percival."

Tachyon snarled, his body shaking with fury – but he said nothing. Fergus pushed on, his voice raising. "No-one, absolutely no one saw what you really where. But I did."

He faced him, halting his walk. Tachyon scoffed darkly, forcing a snicker. "You think you know what I am?"

"I always have." Fergus said plainly. He lifted his narrowed eyes towards him, chin up. "I know you're a monster. You're empty, vile, and soul-less, and you always have been. So wrapped up in self-pity that you saw nothing and no-one else. And the funny thing? You where furious because people looked at you like you where a monster. This...revenge is part of that. For your 'people' and for your treatment." Fergus lowered his head, and smirked right at the cragmite's face. "And in doing so you've made yourself everything I thought and said you where."

"Thank you for proving me right all along."

The throne stomped forward towards him. Fergus, not taking his eyes off it, plucked the wrench off his back. Tachyon snarled,

"You are ignorant as you always have been! You claimed to have seen right through me, yet here we are – your species decimated, your city destroyed – and your life about to be torn out of you."

"Hmph." True enough. It was him against them, his opinion meant nothing. "Whether I tried to stop you or not wouldn't have mattered. The higher-ups where too afraid of treading on ickle Percy's sensitive feewings to listen to any kind of warning."

"They were all fools just as you where!" The hand on the throne crashed down – but Fergus had leaped away from it. The ground beneath the fist crumbled like ash. Tachyon growled in annoyance and lashed out again, but Fergus kept moving – making sure to keep away from the canyon's cliff-like opening. The throne's walk wasn't exactly speedy. He came at him again, talking still.

"Your race deserved what it got. The most 'smart' engineering lombaxes, toppled within the space of a few days!" He broke off in a shuddering cackle, shaking his head, "It was so simple, so deliciously easy! Your mindless pity and self-righteous ways brought your downfall!"

"MY pity?" Fergus called back, his blood boiling. He knew there was no reasoning here, but he couldn't help himself, "You speak as if every view of every lombax is the same! It's childish, its – stupid! "

"Stupid is having the GALL to pity me, when my people were banished from this universe! The horrors your race committed could not be sugar-coated by false goodwill!" Tachyon snapped. Fergus stared at him. His face was maddened, blazing. He lowered his arm just a little, his anger ebbing into disbelief.

"...You actually think you're in the right. You – you're actually trying to justify this?"

Ickabar is dead. You killed him. Didn't you know that?

Fergus eyed the loathsome creature that was approaching him. His goons stood around them, making no move to help. Fergus was their bosses kill apparently.

"I do not need to justify anything to a treacherous rodent like you."

Just tell him. Tell him Ickabar is dead.

But what would that do? Draw attention to Ickabar? Tachyon was as ignorant as he claimed the lombaxes where. For all he knew, Tachyon didn't even know that Ickabar had children. Nor that he'd murdered the one named directly from him...

His stomach churned. Fergus bent his legs and flexed his fingers, gripping the wrench, forcing pressure there and away from his leg. He was here to stall.

"Treacherous? You hypocritical maggot." Fergus scoffed, slowly moving to the side. He and the throne almost circled each other; Tachyon glowering at him with vicious disdain. He was fuelling the fire, and any moment the bug would snap.

"You think you're so clever with your little egging scheme. But you have no idea what'll result in!" The arm of the throne lashed out. Fergus wasn't quick enough this time, and it smacked against his chest, sending him flying backward. The lombax felt the air in his lungs being knocked clean out, and his ruined ribs scream in anguish.

He landed roughly on the dusty floor, giving a hacking cough. Tachyon cackled yards away.

Fergus sat up and rolled to the left to avoid the arm again, barely managing to get to his feet before he had to jump away again. The throne's arm had reached right out, and Fergus saw his chance. He leaped onto it; his free hand gripping the metal and his good leg kicking him up. Tachyon's eyes bulged in anger and he whipped the arm upwards; Fergus held on still, lifting his wrench. He swung it at the cragmite, who slid back, missing it by a hair.

The arm jerked like a whip. Fergus's grip loosened and he fell, and he stuck out his good leg to aid in his landing. He did so in a crouch, snarling. "You're quicker than you look on that thing."

"You have not seen anything yet, mangy cat." Tachyon sneered in response. He slammed his hand down on a button Fergus could not see. A burst of light flew from the palm of the throne's hand, right towards him. Fergus ducked, narrowly missing a –

Lasers. How flashy.

He gritted his teeth, continuing to dodge. They went like this for silent minutes, dodging and hitting out. He aimed for the arms, trying to break them off, but to no avail. He could feel his bad leg seizing up. It must be swelling, the broken thigh. He wouldn't be able to move fast much longer.

The finality came to him, slowly, and he moved away from the lasers almost absently. Fergus hadn't dealt any damage to the throne – but he'd take care of that now. He sprinted forward straight towards it, grunting. Tachyon's eyes widened as the lombax leaped up at him – he lashed at him with two arms of his throne. Fergus expected this. He grabbed onto one of them, kicking out his leg at the other to stop them from grabbing him.

Then, in a mad idea, he spun around and aimed a kick right at the cragmite, pushing off the throne's two arms. Tachyon gave a squawk, and Fergus grinned mirthlessly.

Then he felt the hand of the throne grip his neck. Tachyon had recovered, breathing hard from the kick in the chest – but he was panting like a rapid animal. Fergus snarled back at him, mentally preparing himself for what was to come.

The arm of the throne slammed him down head first onto the ground. Fergus's whole body jolted – but his neck hadn't broken. There was a metallic taste in his mouth and his head ached. He was dazed for a second before being tossed again, and he fell haplessly through the air onto his side.

He heard the throne stamping towards him. Tachyon was no longer laughing. Slowly, he tried to push himself up – but the throne's arms gripped his legs and lifted him again. He was swung like a bat against a still-standing wall. Fergus hit it with a crunch. He screwed his eyes shut, feeling his mouth fill with his own blood.

He was thrown again, and landed on his back. He coughed, feeling the lukewarm blood from his mouth splatter on his chin.

"You have no idea how I've waited for this day, lombax." Tachyon leered, slamming the foot on the throne down on his legs. Fergus grunted, forcing his teeth to bars and his mouth shut as the pressure increased. He heard the unmistakable snap of his other leg, the pain maddening. He forced himself not to yell.

"Y-you g-gonna keep y-yapping?" He hissed through bloodied teeth, his voice a gurgle in his throat. The cragmite sneered and he slammed the foot of the throne down on his chest. Fergus nearly retched at it stomped down on his broken ribs.

His mind wavered.

Sitting by his sister's bedsides, staring at their still forms, their eyelids shut as if asleep. So still...

The arm sized him by his bloodied chest then, and lifted him. Fergus spat the blood left in his mouth, glowering. His whole body was boiling, his face hot. Yet, his mind felt foggy.

Tachyon cackled, though it wasn't as hysterical as before. He wore a sickly smug look on his maw. "You always talked too much for your own good." His smirk was discarded and another arm came at him; crashing against his jaw. Fergus's head reeled, dizzy.

Standing beside his mother's bed; in the sun-lit hospital room, watching as the life support faded away from her.

The throne slowly stomped to the cliff-like edge of the canyon. "Your people will not survive. I will find the rest of them that fled from my army like rats and exterminate them – but you will not be around to see it."

Fergus lifted his head, slowly, feeling his own hear beating heavier than ever. It pulsed in his head as he felt his own blood seeping through his clothes, staining his face. The arm reached at him again and sized his arm, giving it a sudden twist – Fergus almost yowled as his forearm snapped, and lay limp by his side. His breathing became heavy. He could barely get it out of his chest.

"I almost wish you could see the end." Tachyon sneered, lifting him out towards the canyon's jagged, rocky edge. Fergus's eyes narrowed, and despite himself...he felt a low chuckle escape his broken chest.

"I'll...h-have the last laugh in the end. I'll be waiting for hell..."

Tachyon's eyes narrowed, "We shall see." He hissed. He threw Fergus away from him. The lombax's back hit against the higher wall of the canyon, knocking the last jar from his boy – and then, he fell forward into the darkness, silently.

Fergus felt the wind brush against his cheek, and his eyes slide shut.


He limped through the canyon on a leg that barely functioned. His head bent. As exhausted as he was, it didn't stop his aimless walk. He didn't know where he was going or why. In reality, he wished he'd perished back there. Quick and painless, and end to it all.

The canyon was dim and the destroyed city could not be seen. That was the only blessing Raymas could hope for, though he knew it was beyond what he deserved. Feeling decades older than he was, he continued around the corner. The heaviness in him ached like a wound.

His fault, all his...

He closed his eyes. Then, he forced them to open again. He looked ahead, at the sandy canyon floor...and his heart almost stopped. Someone was lying meters away from him, his body lain on a soft slope.

Raymas fell horror and sadness wash over him, and he walked unevenly towards the still form, his eyes broad. He felt empty with sorrow.

"...Fergus..." He murmured.

Bloodied and broken, his limbs mangled, but his body lain almost peacefully. His face bore no agony; his eyelids slid shut as if asleep.

Slowly, slowly, they opened by a crack. Pale grey-blue irises stared up at him. Raymas slowly fell to his knees. But he couldn't bring himself to touch Fergus's broken frames.

"I knew you couldn't have gone out that quickly." Fergus muttered plainly, eyeing him with the faint frown his face was still able to manage. Raymas swallowed, helpless.

"...I'm...I'm so sorry..."

"...Forget it. This wasn't your fault." Fergus said quietly, turning his head away, stiff. He sighed, his chest lifting slowly. "This was his fault. Only his. Not yours, mind, or Icky's. His."

Raymas hung his head. The words didn't quench the ache within him. He doubted it did the same for Fergus, truth or not.

"...I could have done it differently."

"So could I. B-but this is what is." Fergus looked at him again, tiredly. Then, he coughed, his edges screwing shut. Raymas reached out, but again, he couldn't make himself touch him. He was afraid of causing more pain to his broken frame.

Raymas withdrew his hands and closed his eyes again. Fergus's coughing subsided. "F...find Tenahee. Look after my goddaughter. She's out there...somewhere." He looked at him again. Raymas lifted his head just a little.

"...It should be you, Fergus..." He whispered.

Fergus closed his eyes, and gave a faint, weak chuckle. "Think I'll pass. I wouldn't be up for it, you know...? No...I've waited for this...a long time. It caught up with me eventually..."

Raymas could see Fergus growing quieter, and felt his eyes sting. He reached out, his hand lying on his head, touching him at last. His fur and skin where cold. The ghost of a smile still on his face, Fergus opened his eyes just a little to look at him one last time.

"...Thank you, Fergus. For Icky. For them. You where always his brother."

Fergus stared back, and if he could have nodded, he would have.

"...I wish...I could have seen him one last time." Fergus murmured, his voice husky. "I know it...can never be..."

Raymas felt something trickle down his forehead. Looking up, he saw...ash, soft and grey, was falling from the polluted sky. Falling as gently and silently as snow. It landed upon Fergus's pale, bloodied face.

Fergus lifted his head just a little.

...Are you crying, Ick?

Raymas looked back down at Fergus again, his heart heavy. " will see them again, Fergus. All of them."

Fergus closed his eyes, a faint smile still upon his lips.

His hand brushed against soft, golden grass as it rippled in the wind. He waded through it, the glow of the sun on his back; the heat on his fur.

Fergus's chest went still, the ash falling around where Raymas knelt.

Far across the shimmering fields, he could see four figures on the path. Further behind them stood the hill, against the baby blue sky.

Standing on the path, a man and woman lifted their hands to their eyes to shield them from the sun, to see him.

Two little girls ran from beside them, towards him. They called his name, their voices carried over the wind, their laughter echoing over to him as he drew near.

At long last, he was home.


Leo had walked back to the outside air from the station. He could have just left, that second, but he had to go back. He had to look at the city one last time. Duck was lying in the ship, barely awake. Slowly, he raised his hands to his head.

Part of him had hoped Fergus would catch up. He'd waited. But... He was gone. Fergus was gone. Ickabar, Jan, Percy...

A lump rose to his throat, and the despair almost floored him. He had no excuse to stay anymore, no one to wait for. He looked at the rubble, the bodies...what used to be his home and theirs. Giving a shuddering sigh, Leo lowered his hands away.

He turned away from the sight. He began walking, trying to focus his mind on Duck, getting him out of here, getting him help...

A rustle.

Leo froze. He'd heard something move amongst the wreckages. Slowly, stiffly, he looked over his shoulder. He held his breath. Tachyon's minions? Here already? Had his minute delay, hesitance to leave, allowed them to catch up?

He began backing away, as quietly as he could. The rustling continued, getting closer. Leo bent down and lifted up a broken rod, watching the piles of debris around him. He couldn't see it.

It went quiet. Leo waited, his heart pounding. He breathed out. It was probably just...falling rubble. He turned away and continued walking, his legs wobbling from nerves.


A soft, quiet voice reached him. Leo stiffened. His whole body seemed to stop functioning. He stared ahead. It couldn't be. He must have gone mad.

Slowly, he turned around. A tiny figure had toddled out from around a pile of wreckage, filthy, towards him. His head covered in dried blood, his right ear missing, and the remains of it torn. A little hand on his mouth, chewing his purple fingers.

Leo's sorrow fell, and warmth and coldness washed through his body all at once as utter relief floored him inside. He couldn't believe it, but it was.


Percy toddled towards him, whimpering, and Leo darted to him, stumbling. He scooped him up, holding him tight against his chest. Warm and soft, and alive...he was actually here. Percy lifted a hand, petting Leo's cheek, obviously and groggy despite the loss of his ear.

Leo gave a soft sob, mixed in with a laugh.

He's alive, Fergus. Ick...he's alive...

He began walking back up to the station, onto the platform. It overlooked the ruined city, the road they had travelled on far below. Leo held Percy tight the entire way, feeling the strength return to his legs.

Percy looked out over the city, at the rubble, the fire. Unrecognisable to him. A rumble below made Leo stop, and they both looked down.

Far below...he saw Tachyon and his throne. Too far from the creature to see him. Leo's happiness was drowned out by a sick feeling inside him. For he knew now for certain...Fergus was not coming back.

He closed his eyes and turned away towards the ship where Duck. Tachyon was too far down to catch up...and he'd gotten the one he'd wanted for now. It was over.

Before they went into the ship that would take off and vanish into space, leaving behind a desolate, empty world. , Percy stared at the insect-like being far below, his groggy mind sorting through images he'd seen in his home. Old ones his father had owned. Slowly, his arms reached out to the familiar creature that could not see him, as Leo turned away.


I see

Your star

You left it burning for me

Mother, I'm here...

Ratchet and Clank: Lifeforce Chapter 40

Finally...its over. This chapter contains strong violence, so caution. We get back to Ratchet in the next chapter. There will be a few more explanations, but no flashbacks including Fergus, Ickabar, or that timeline. There will be flashbacks from different stories, though...

I've had a problem with the internet, and I only got this chance to post this now. I have no idea when it'll be totally fixed, but I'll try to upload as much as possible given the circumstance.
Aaand Welcome One-Ear Everyone! Ace's most hated little rival.

Well the internet adapter broke, and we have no idea when it'll be fixed. Where I am we had to get a new one installed, but its not working right even then. That, coupled with a giant end-of-year unit (I know that its January, but the project we're working on in my college spans out till at least April ) I probably will have limited time online. I'll be writing as much Lifeforce as possible and I'll try to find openings to post it, but even now I'm speedily trying to write this journal from a borrowed laptop. 

Bear with me, people who know me here and people who are waiting on Lifeforce. This year's going to be hectic and the internet problems just amplified it. I'll be glad for when this summer comes.

Lifeforce Chapter 39

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.

William Ernest Henley


A crack rang through the air, and shattered the silence that held them. It was dawn, and the sun had broke, dim and murky behind the clouded sky. Fergus's head jerked upward, his gaze away from Ickabar's body at last. Below them, down the other side of the hill, he could see more of the suited creatures leering at them. They had been found.

Fergus was torn by what he knew he had to do. "...We have to leave."

Daveed's eyes widened helplessly. Leo hesitated for a moment, but was on his feet the next, tugging at the boy to get him to move. Fergus looked back at Ickabar.

This couldn't be the last time he ever saw him. This couldn't be happening.

"C'mon, Fergus!" Leo's voice carried back to him, jarring and loud, as he tugged Daveed reluctantly away. Fergus's knees refused to move. Ickabar did not stir, lifeless and as still as a statue. Fergus looked at his face, wanting to remember it, but he saw nothing but the blankness left behind. His chest pulled inwardly and he forced himself to his feet. Then he was running down the hill behind Daveed and Leo. He glanced over his shoulder and saw the creatures go past the body, past the graves. They were of no use.

He caught a glimpse of purple one last time before he turned his head again.


They had gone uphill, a now precarious steep road that had a cliff-like drop. The fences that once prevented that drop had been blown clean off. The road overlooked the tops of various buildings, that is, the ones that still stood.

Fergus's leg grew more painful with every step. He was lagging behind, and he knew it. He could feel the fractured bone in his thigh, the pressure making the injury worse. Fergus mind seemed to beat with every through that travelled past it. He had no plan, and he didn't try to make one. Whatever hapless idea Leo had, he found it wishful thinking than logic. Daveed was still praying to life, his chest heaving and his eyes wide like a petrified cat.

"We can get to the station. We'll need to rest flight. If we get a small ship we'll have a chance." It was ludicrous. Leo's voice was laboured from the lack of breath. Fergus drew to a stop, huffing as a frown twisted his face. Leo finally stopped, turning to face him.

It was then all three lombaxes remembered there was a fourth party. Fergus remembered that Raymas was standing five steps behind him, silent as a mouse.

He was on him in seconds, before Leo or Duck could stop him. He wordlessly lifted his arm, his fingers curling, aiming right for the green man's jaw. Raymas was hit with an audible crunch, reeling back, but he regained his composure almost immediately. Fergus felt rage boil in his blood and he lunged for him a second time, but the thin man had side-stepped to avoid him, his body tensed. Leo reached for Fergus again, but he tore his arm away. How could they defend him even now? He wasn't even trying to excuse himself!

"Fergus, No-!" He ignored Leo again, going for Raymas once more. Finally the words came like poison in his mouth he needed to spit out,

"What the HELL did you do?!" Leo stumbled back, aghast at the strangled voice. Fergus didn't care. All he saw was red, every time he moved near Raymas he moved back, the two of them circling each other like vultures.

"...I did nothing!" Raymas's husky voice rasped back. Fergus sneered,

"Oh right, exactly. Where the hell where you? During all of this? What the hell where you doing?"

"I...I did not do this." Raymas said, his voice husky. Fergus had no pity for the way he said it, like he was trying to convince himself as well as the braided lombax. He straightened up, pacing, giving a raucous, bitter laugh.

"You didn't do this. You say that like you had NOTHING to do with it!" He flung an arm out, gesturing to the bodies, the rubble, the destruction left all around them. Raymas's empty eyes were on the floor, stoic. Not even Duck dare whimper.

Leo finally mustered up his voice. He looked at Fergus, not Raymas. "...Tachyon did this. No one else, Fergus. There's nothing anyone could have done, not even Raymas."

Fergus stood back and looked at them all with a deadpan expression. Duck, twiddling his thumbs, Leo looking more defeated than he'd ever seen. Raymas like an empty droopy-eyed doll. He almost felt like he despised them all for it. Bitter, burning, and resentful, he felt it to the brim. Just looking at them made him furious, and he didn't even know why.

"...You think you're the only one thinking about them?" Leo's eyes met his. Fergus's fingers curled against his palms, and he turned away.

"Forget it, let's keep moving."

"Fergus – "

"I said let's just go – "

"Fergus, you have to accept –"

"Accept WHAT?"

He whirled around to face Leo, halting his walk, and stopping his own. He glowered down at him, the slope putting him above his taller friend. Leo stared back at him, sturdy. Fergus's nose wrinkled. Wonderful, he was trying to play the knowing-all geography teacher game; act like he knew what was going on and knew how to handle it.

"You think you accept it wise guy? It just hasn't sunk in for you yet. Because you don't know – none of you do, yet. The first time it doesn't sink it, but when it does, you won't be lecturing me on accepting anything." He looked back at Raymas and Duck then, at their shaken, empty faces respectfully. Scowling worse than he ever had, let his anger go on, not bursting, but pooling out, seeping right into them.

"When it does sink in you won't be whimpering or running or planning the next move, you'll be on your knees feeling like your insides are being torn out – much worse than the first moment Icky was dead, or Jan was dead, or Percy." He turned away, leaving no mercy in his tone. "Once you realize that it's forever, really forever, you won't be telling me to stop. You'll be trying to keep yourself whole while you fall apart."

Duck sobbed behind him, once. Fergus had said it all and he'd hoped for some sort of satisfaction. But he had none. He felt deflated, and empty, and his throat was swelling.

"...You where there for him, Fergus...when I wasn't. When I should have been." Raymas said at last. Fergus looked over his shoulder, eyeing him down. Raymas finally raised those fishy eyes of his, looking lost. He reminded Fergus oddly of a poor old stray dog, wandering around, weakly going on his way.

He almost felt like Raymas was looking right through him, his eyes where that vague. "...Thank you."

Fergus said nothing for some time. Part of him almost wanting to relent, just a little. But another part wouldn't allow any other words to come out but the ones he chose first.

"...He wasn't yours to thank for."

Raymas actually met his eye then, for a split second, his mind seemed to have slipped back into that colder look he always had. As it did, the ground behind him rumbled. Leo's face lit up in horror.

"Its –"

A large, head-sized plasma blast hit the wall beside them. The rock began crumbling. Leo threw himself out of the way, dragging Duck with him. Fergus lifted his arm to shield himself from flittering rock fragments, and looked down over the high-road ledge.

Down below, he could make out the small figures of more of the suited idiots. But in the middle of them he could see a spider-shaped mechanical throne, the pilot a speck from this high up. He could barely see him through the forest of broken buildings.

Tachyon was there. And he was following them.

Fergus's stomach was heavy. Did he know who exactly he was following, or was he just looking for wayward survivors?

A crack sounded above him, and he sprinted after the others. The rocks fell behind them, one to the head could knock them senseless. His limp made him wobble as he tried to catch up with Leo. They went further up the slope, and he finally came up beside him. "It's Tachyon. He's after us."

Duck shuddered like a hit gong. Raymas was blank. Leo's eyes broadened in alarm. "How far?!"

"Down in the Square, still way back. He'll be on us at this pace, though."

"No – we're almost there. The debris will block that giant – thing of his." Leo panted. Another blast caught their attention – all four lifted their heads. Beside their high-road path, a tall set of buildings had stood overlooking it. Now gaping holes had been blasted right out the sides. It was still quite far from them.

Fergus's stomach flipped as the top half of the building began to tip towards them.


They ran, scrambling as fast as they could. They smashed through a small building's window up ahead, tearing through, knowing any second the giant building would crush this one like pâté.

Fergus's leg scraped against something and the pain jerked at his nerves. He stumbled and fell, his mind whirling.


Someone seized him by the nape of the neck and dragged him up, shoving him forward. Winded, Fergus staggered out of the other side of the small square building, colliding with Leo and Duck –

He turned. Raymas was limping towards them, still in the smaller building, the ground rumbling beneath him. "Raymas, hurry –"

"Raymas, c'mon!"

Fergus looked up. The falling sky scraper hit the smaller building in front of them. The room plummeted down. They saw Raymas lift his arms as the wreckage fell on him – and the road gave away right before them, crumbling down.

The road they had stood on fell apart right before them. Fergus gaped, standing on the edge of it. Now a cliff where part of a city had been, staring down as the piles of scrap metal fell and slipped down to the lower city below.

The wind blew cold and quiet against his back as he stared over the edge, his braid bumping gently into his shoulder. Leo stepped beside him, eyes gaping wide. Duck shuffled as close to the edge as he dared.

"...Raymas." He mumbled, blankly.

They said nothing, their hearts still pounding. It happened so quickly. He was...gone.

"...Maybe he got out. He'll find us." Leo said, his voice a murmur. Fergus turned his head to look at his face. Disbelieving.

He couldn't deny him that frail hope. He forced his legs to move, and he turned away from the edge. He felt numb, but not like before.

Maybe, his mind said nastily to him, it hadn't sunk in yet.


They walked. They didn't know what else to do.

They'd bought time, or rather it had been thrown at them. Tachyon would have to find another route to them now that the road behind them had collapsed. Fergus found himself at the back still, Duck and Leo staggering ahead, numb. Fergus didn't have the capacity to be grateful they didn't have to run. His battered leg and chest could take a hike for all he cared.

He wondered if Tachyon knew what happened. If he knew who he was chasing. If it was some stragglers, why come himself? Why not just send the fish? Ickabar hadn't been worth the trouble apparently.

Did he even know Ickabar was dead?

Fergus looked over his shoulder, stiffly. All he could see was piles of twisted metal rods. The ground was still sloped a tad. He had no recognition of the place, and wondered if Leo knew if they were indeed nearing this ship of his. Before they'd ruled out a ship, even a small one. It would be seen easily.

Fergus hadn't thought this much in years. That is, questioning thoughts. Tachyon may have deliberately buried Raymas in rubble back there, he had every reason to. Or he could be as ignorant as he'd always been. He may not know that Ickabar is dead. The drophids wouldn't distinguish him from the rest, not even with purple fur. Just another dead face.

Fergus felt the ground tremor beneath his foot. He stopped and lifted his head. Damn it. "Leo."

The darker lombax looked over his shoulder at him quizzically, Duck peering at him with broad eyes. Fergus jerked his head to the left. The rubble was sliding, and the crackling sound of glass and scraping metal came their way. He sped forward, shoving the two in front of him.

"Move! NOW!"

They moved. The three stumbled over another mountain of debris to avoid the even larger one from burying them. On the other side where still-standing buildings. Fergus clambered down, his body screeching in pain, and he quickly spotted a ladder leading upwards.

Leo was at it first. "Let's get a higher view before this place buries us!" He began scaling the ladder, remarkably without man hindering wounds. Duck came next, quivering. Fergus hobbled after them, his leg providing no mercy for the climb.

The world below them looked like a junkyard. This part of the city had been the most plentiful in smaller buildings. Made for easily breakable targets. The roof, or perhaps a floor that had its roof blown off, was flat and somewhat sturdy. Leo was looking at the next building along, noticing the wall had been removed just like the roof. "...Maybe we can make the jump."

Fergus pondered whether the older lombax was trying to block out anything other than survival. However futile it may be. Duck seemed to be following along mindlessly. He decided he didn't care and regarded the distance. It wasn't that far.

He looked at his leg, then Duck. But then again, still too far. He glanced around for some kind of plank, maybe to create a makeshift bridge between there and the other building. Below them the ground was covered in sharp remains. It would be impossible to get through it fast and without ripping themselves to shreds.

He spotted what he was looking for by the wall. He soundlessly went over and jerked the plank off the wall. Whatever its purpose was before didn't matter. Fergus gave it a whack, testing if it was solid, then tossed it toward Leo.

He caught it, blinking. "...Er...that'll work. Thanks, man." He turned and positioned it. He let it fall, and it clanked on the other building's floor, creating a narrow, flat bridge. Duck gave a small laugh. One little victory, Fergus supposed snidely. Tachyon couldn't compare to their bridge of narrow-ness.

Leo lifted his arms like a ragged tightrope walker and began moving across, his eyes on his feet. Fergus watched him quietly. The plank wobbled, and Duck's whole body tensed. Leo lifted a hand to them. "It's fine."

He paused, and moved again. He stepped onto the other building, giving a heavy sighing, and grinned weakly back at them. Fergus rose a brow at Duck, who didn't look ready to move. He shook his hand and limped to the plank, beginning his way over without the tightrope walker stance. Leo's brows flew up, his eyes on Fergus's leg – and suddenly it was clear he hadn't realized just how bad it was.

Fergus's blunt stride over the plank got him over with a single wobble, but he didn't mind it. He almost fell when he stepped off, not off the building thankfully, but nearly on his face. "Hmm."

Duck stared at them from the other side. Then, cautiously, he placed a foot on the plank.

"I want them found!"

The far-off screech was faint and quiet. But it was there. Duck's body jerked and he sprinted across the plank, Leo reaching out. Fergus's eyes flew open.

Duck's sprint made the plank dislodge, and it tipped to the side. The boy's arms flayed helplessly, and with a screech he fell, hitting off something on the way down.



Leo and Fergus didn't stop to look. His head pounding, Fergus sprinted down the stairs.

They weren't high up. He could have survived.

They burst out the side of the building, leaving the door off its hinges, and dashed around to where the boy had fallen. There he was, just having missed impalement on the sharper rubble. His leg, however, was twisted at an odd angle, his body sprawled awkwardly. Leo knelt by him, hands hovering as if afraid to touch him. Fergus couldn't kneel, not with his own leg.


His eyes fluttered open. He gave a harsh, hacking cough. "M' f-fine. I'm f-fine..."

Leo slid his arms under his back, trying to lift him. Duck screeched in agony. Leo let go instantly. "I –"

"Just pick him up. Fast." Fergus barked. They had no time. It would hurt either way. Leo wrapped his arms around Duck and lifted him, grimacing at the boy's cries. He turned and carried him back in the direction they were going, finding the path again. The rubble was clearing a little here. Uphill – why was Fastoon filled with so many confounded slopes? – Fergus could see the station Leo had spoken about.

Leo lagged behind, even with Fergus having a pained leg. The braided lombax tried to think. Carrying Duck would slow Leo down no matter how strong he was. Tachyon was going to catch up.

"At this pace he'll catch up." He said, echoing his own mind. Leo looked at him, panting.

"What're you suggesting?" He rasped accusingly. Fergus eyed him, and Duck, who was barely awake now.

Of course it looked like he was suggesting that. But he wasn't.

"...It's me he wants."

He'd always hated Fergus. No, loathed him. He'd love it to see him die. He'd relish in it...and he wouldn't rush it, he knew that. He wouldn't only want to see him die; he'd want to do it himself. He could almost read the monster's thoughts now, all the horrible ways he'd make the person he hated most suffer.

Leo stiffened when he realized what he was suggesting. "...No. That's ridiculous. Don't say things like that. We're leaving her together, all three of us. You, me and Duck. That's final."

His deep voice rang with authority he just didn't have. Fergus nodded once, but it was empty. He let Leo go past him and followed behind him at a slower pace. They got to some stairs. Fergus lifted his head. There was the station, barely looking like one. And there were the gates. Still functional, perhaps. He could see an electronic padlock on an open door, perhaps a staff entrance. Leo was heading for it.

A plan formed in his brain, and he let it without hesitation.

He followed wordlessly, waiting, counting every second until Leo carried Daveed through the gate. He subtly put distance between them, just a little. Leo didn't notice. He too desperately wanted this to work out, for all three of them to live. He was hopeful, no matter how painful.

Fergus knew it couldn't be that way. It just couldn't. This was the real world. Tachyon would catch up with them by the time they reached the station, and he'd slaughter them all.

I'm sorry, Leo. I can't come with you both. I died a long time ago. Even if we all escaped...I have nothing.

Leo had a way out. He could help Duck rebuild his life far away. But Fergus had nothing but memories of what he'd lost. Fergus would not die from some infected thigh wound or being shot by some fish. He was going to end it the way he wanted to.

And it had to be without Leo and Duck.

Leo passed through the gate with Duck limp in his arms. He looked over his shoulder. "F-"

Fergus grabbed the gate and pulled it shut, his hands fixing the padlock instantly. Leo could not stop him. His face had frozen in shock. His thick brow right up. "What're you doing?!"

"I'm sorry, man. This is just something I gotta do." Fergus replied emptily. Leo stepped to the barred gate, his eyes wide and helpless. It made something twist inside Fergus, but not enough for him to relent.

"No, Ferg. No its not. You don't have to prove anything." His deep voice lifted, breaking. Fergus looked at the ground for a few seconds, then back at him, exhaling slowly through his nose.

"...He wants me. He'll take his time. He won't even notice you go. You'll both have a chance."

"Fergus..." Leo protested, but Fergus cut him off.

"It can't be the way you want it, Leo. He would have caught up with us. This is the only way." He turned his body. Leo's eyes widened more if possible, desperate.

"...This is what I want. This is how it'll end." Fergus said quietly. Duck's head turned, his eyelids lifting. He must have heard some of it. Or at least been a little awake. He reached out through the bars.

"No, n-no...F-Fergus...n-ot you, too, please..."

Fergus reached out, and curled his finger's around Duck's cold, shivering hand. The boy held tight, sobbing weakly, his eyes sliding shut. He no longer had the strength to open them, but he tried to hold on. Fergus felt his eyes sting, but he did not cry. His heart heavy, he turned his head and body, his hands still holding his.

With one step his hand began to slide away from Duck's. The boy gave a broken sob in protest, but could do nothing as Fergus walked away. He kept going, his fists clenched, his whole body aching.

Tears spilled down Leo's face as he watched his best friend go. Fergus didn't look back, not until he was meters away, just before going around the corner. He turned, looking back at them. Leo looked back, Duck's sobbing uncontrollably in his arms.

Fergus turned away again, and lifted his head. His ears where drooped as if tired, his fists still clenched into balls. He waited a moment, swallowing the pain, and walked on and out of sight. Leo closed his eyes and lowered his head, forced himself to turn as well and continue walking. Despite Duck's weak, almost incoherent pleas.

His head bent, and his heart heavy, he walked away. Leo knew he'd never see Fergus again.

Ratchet and Clank: Lifeforce Chapter 39

Sorry for the wait again, things have been hectic. I hope you can bear with me.

This chapter and the next...well. Emotional Downfalls once again. I think the next Chapter will finally be the end of Ickabar's story, concerning his friends. Sorry for the cliffhanger, especially after the wait, but the chapter got too long to wrap it up.

Next chapter: Ratchet and Clank: Lifeforce Chapter 40


Lifeforce: Chapter 38

"Life is for the living.
Death is for the dead.
Let life be like music.
And death a note unsaid."
Langston Hughes,The Collected Poems


Memories of him, small and giggling, toddling clumsily across the sand towards them. Curled in his arms, his youngest brother. Clinging to him, full of life.

He could not stand the pain.

He did not want to feel ever again.

He'd failed them both.


The barrier was growing thinner by the hour. Never had she felt so close to the living world. She had seen but never touched, never felt. Now she could smell the air, hear the heartbeat of the one who would set her free. She had waited so long, agonisingly long, that she'd almost gotten ahead of herself. She had grown too close. The last time it had set her back. The one that had discovered her had been frightened like so many others before him, frightened of the unknown that grew closer to him every time he slept.

But this one had no choice. He had to save his precious universe, however terrifying her presence was. He hadn't noticed her yet, but he was beginning to piece it together. He swam through the memories that he viewed, praying for answers, and she rewarded him with more questions. He was sinking further and further towards her.

She had not smiled in a very, very long time.


Clank awoke with a start. It was quiet. With a quick glance he saw that the ship was moving steadily through space; Qwark sound asleep. He lifted his head slowly, and at the front of the ship he saw Trisby standing upon the control panel before it. Her figure was still and shadow against the light of the stars, and in the quietness, he almost felt a jab of unease. Her hands where behind her back; the front of her body alit by the stars and the back darkened, casting a tall, almost mangled shadow. Clank stood up slowly, his antenna bobbing to the side with a soft tingle.

Trisby hummed absently, the tune barely fluid or jumpy. More like a sing-song phrase from a playground, more of a chant than a melody. Her head turned slightly away from him as she eyed the stars.

Clank approached slowly, and paused before climbing up onto the control panel beside her. "...Trisby?"

He saw her eyes flicker his way and then back again. "Is everything all right?"

"Not used to quietness, Clank?" She implored smoothly, her gaze still ahead and not on him. "Perhaps with the company you keep, it's not surprising."

"Perhaps being so alone made you more used to silence." Clank replied, a hint of wit in his. Good natured, but he didn't feel being outright cheerful was needed. He beamed none the less.

Trisby turned her head towards him at last; the shadows on her face sharp. Clank's smile nearly faded. It was at times like this he felt he was looking at someone different entirely from Trisby.

"...I know you sense something, Clank. But you won't get your answers." She turned her head once again, eyes lidded loftily. Clank paused for a moment, mulling over her answer.

"I do not feel any contempt or threat coming from you, Trisby. But at the same time I feel your motives...change now and again."

"I have made up my mind, Clank." There was a note of offence in her voice, sharp and cold, but faint still. She smirked lightly, "It's not like Zoni to be paranoid."

"I am a creation of the Zoni, really. Rather than one myself." Clank corrected, a finger lifted. Trisby's look was almost scathing, a slight grin on her face.

"Made by them, so a lot of them is in you, Clank. Your body is only the vessel for your soul, made by Orvus himself."

"Do you...know Orvus?" Clank inquired, the faintest trace of hope in his voice. Trisby breathed out slowly, eyes sliding shut.

"...Long Ago."

Another pause. Clank finally turned his head to follow her gaze, but saw nothing but stars.

"...Ratchet and I would talk often below the stars. I do not know what awakened me, but I...feel odd." He idly wondered if the Zoni had stirred him...but why?

Trisby smiled vaguely.

"You will again, soon."


It was oddly quiet in the cockpit of the Battleship. Various drones hovered here and there, carrying out menial tasks of technical prowess that the creature upon the throne bore no interest to. Why would he, when they were but the inner, mindless cells of a greater being?

Both of Tachyon's pincer-like hands, encased in smooth dark gloves, where curled around his sceptre. To an onlooker it would almost seem that he was leaning on it, his head slightly bent forward and his eyes closed. Not screwed shut as if in pain or discomfort, but almost as if asleep. Rare moments of calmness where just that to him; rare. Tachyon didn't relish in quietness or peace, he craved activity. Peace was all very well when he was distracted by an entertainment, not when he was left to his own thoughts.

He would not detail just why that was. An odd feeling had come about him. Not coldness, though the idea had come to his mind. All of a sudden the boil in his blood that had made him ready to achieve all of his tasks in a second if possible had faded, and he'd found himself in an odd state of boredom. His nose wrinkled and he gave an indistinguishable noise of annoyance, aware no one else would hear it. Not that he cared.

He glanced over the controls, and a lift of satisfaction brushed over him. The forces against them had been taken by such surprise that they still hadn't completely rally against them. Most fled – without knowing that he'd made sure the usual routes to other galaxies where blocked. Anyone trying to leave would fly smack into their net.

Percival chortled to himself. However, he found it fading, and he did not know why. He resisted the urge to grumble. Perhaps he was just bored.

It was far too quite where he was.

He didn't like the quiet. The cragmite drummed his hands on his sceptre, watching each finger curl in its rhythm. Old faces that he'd despised fluttered in his brain. His brow furrowed. He didn't relish in thinking of past enemies, however much he'd made them suffer. They where a thorn in his side. Fergus especially.

How odd it was, to say his name in his mind only. It had been so long, he almost didn't seem real. As if he'd never existed, the foul pale rat.

His grip tightened. His eyes narrowed. Why now, did he remember them all? How much he despised him. And how the earliest memories made him sick. Most people would look back on their childhoods for comfort, for days of innocence. But his where plagued by the utter lie it had all been. All the times he'd thought he'd been happy had been taken from him. And in all his childhood memories, he was always there. He hated how he remembered every last detail of him, since the day he'd first seen him. A tiny infant, crying alone and abandoned in the night.

He growled to himself.

Why must the universe think itself so witty? To return that burden to him, even if he himself was not there? The Lifeforce and all its supposed power was a blessing. And who had discovered it? Him.

He didn't remember Raymas as much as he remembered Ickabar. He doubted anyone did, if there was anyone left to remember either of them. His lip curled and he found himself laughing, lowly, but laughing all the same.

The little he did remember of Raymas consisted of images. Images of an empty, paranoid and fretful being scared of his own thoughts to the point where he made himself feel nothing. Scared of his own wrath and other people's, which he chose to ignore the things that caused it. A doormat who had no motivation to do anything that risked causing trouble.

In other words, an empty little weakling and a coward. Percival scowled to himself. Raymas was despicable in the sense that he basically imprisoned him and Ickabar – not that he cared for the purple fluffball at this point – so he'd have little followers to look at him as if he was the strong leader and stern, knowing parent. When he was nothing of the sort.

And when he'd left, he'd been as passive as a tree trunk and done nothing to stop him. That was his only redeeming quality – Raymas had done nothing to stop him.

His chortled merrily to himself, unaware of the unnerved glances the mechanical crew where giving him. Perhaps he simply needed rest, with all this excitement.

As if to counter that thought, the alarm sounded. Tachyon's head jerked to the screen ahead of him. Located near one of their bases was the armoured menace; he could see his long metal-covered ears clearly. He wasn't too far away.

His blood boiled and his hand slowly went to the controls on his throne. Perhaps he would have something to do after all.

It had been a long time since he'd had the pleasure of killing a lombax.


Raymas had gone quiet in the last moments. Then his body slumped, curling in a crippled manner around the limp form in his arms; a dying snake entangling itself around what it held. But it was useless. No grip could have caught the life that had drained so quickly from the man on the ground. Raymas's sobs where soft and quiet, but so heavy and broken that they shook his chest. His face was masked from them, buried in Ickabar's shoulder.

Daveed cracked first, but his cry was not soft or quiet. He shrieked with the pain, as if it bled from a wound within him and was tearing him apart. As if somehow, in some way, crying out would bring some aid. As if enough tears and begging could make the Universe relent its cruelty and take it back.

Fergus knew how cruel the universe was. He knew it would not pity them. Ickabar's hands were still encased in his, cold and still. He stared at it, the fingers that had held his not moments ago no longer tight. Limp and unfeeling, his hand almost slid from his. He felt the emptiness in his chest spread through him, his eyes stinging.

Ickabar's face was peaceful, as he'd said it was. The faintest trace of a smile lingered along his lips, but he knew that it was a facade. Ickabar was gone to somewhere he could not follow.

His hand slid away from his.


Boddo watched the communicator with red-raw eyes. Hours had passed, too many to count. They had not eaten or slept. Fastoon's signals where an incoherent scramble. From outside, all they could see was the blackened sky. Call upon call, he, Marlo and Canter had left on Ickabar and Fergus's communicators. None of them had been answered.

Marlo sat opposite him, looking far older than he was. He'd stopped trying long ago. Canter had gone off, pacing, unable to make any assumptions. More like not daring to. Canter reappeared, moving from the doorway to the left to the doorway on the right. His fists clenched, he muttered aloud.

"Why didn't we see a freaking fleet coming? I told you, we should have gone to the blasted planet ourselves while we still could!"

The door slid shut with a snap as he left once more. Boddo watched him, his chest twisting at numerous ideas of what they could have done. It almost seems impossible, how the fleet had come from nowhere. A fleet that big hadn't been seen in decades, or even centuries, even with how paranoid Polaris was. After the war, for eons on, it remained a dangerous place.

So how did they not see it? How could the computers see a fleet from afar as some blasted asteroids? How could the lombaxes be taken down...?

Their realization, along with their warning, had come too late. By the time they called the attack had started and no response came from Ickabar.

Even now the people of Polaris, many that could, where fleeing. Without the lombaxes, some had given up and surrendered, knowing they had n time to get out before the fleet got to them. Others who were closer to the outer rim risked taking ships to other galaxies, far away, praying for better luck. Boddo didn't know which fate was bleaker; staying here, trapped for what was clearly a period of suffering that was coming upon them, or being stranded out with little to nothing in a foreign place.

Worse than both was sitting here, praying that their friends were still alive somehow. Boddo swallowed; his hands numb as he lifted the communicator again.

"Icky...? Ickabar, please pick up..."


They moved the body attentively and without a single word. Their heads bent, they carried it up the hill. Their hands linking underneath Ickabar to stead him, his head dropped. Daveed's arms were absent, too weak and shaky to help, and he followed after them. Their figures where black silhouettes against the sky. The city behind them was blackened like cinders. From afar it was like watching shadows against the wall.

Far away, Kaden placed the dimensionator down for a moment. As important and precious as it was supposed to be, holding it was like holding a murder weapon. He no longer took pride in the thing he protected. The thing Tachyon had destroyed half the city's oldest buildings to find. The thing that had ironically banished his people away like it had the criminals before them.

How meaningless the hat seemed now. Now he knew why people scoffed at lombaxes sometimes. A ridiculous hat that had a few good tricks. Barely a scratch on it.

His wife was dead, and after this, he was certain he would be, too. His mind slipped to Alister, but the burning anger he felt to him still overpowered the pity he had for his old friend. His mind went to his son, far away and alone in a universe that had no clue of his history. Kaden's eyes stung as he imagined him alone and frightened.

Kaden, after thinking of everyone he knew, thought of Ickabar. He had not returned. He had to close the portal.

He knew first hand that his son would not see him again.


The pounding on the doors of the court ascended into blasts as the doors tore down. Kaden yelled for the masses to push forward, the last of the crowd disappearing through the portal. He ripped the dimensionator off his head, heart pounding – and halted when he saw a familiar purple figure staring down the hall.

The mechs and drophids stormed forward, screeching and clinking in unison; their battlecries a cry of a beast. Raym's mouth was ajar and his eyes broadened, his little body stiff. He had waited, the last one, for his father to return.

But he had not. Kaden knew what he had to do. His heart tore with it, and he'd never forgive himself for the hate the child would have for him after it, but he would take it over Ickabar losing him anyday. He lunged forward, scooping the boy under his arm and charging for the portal. Already it was shrinking without the dimensionator to keep it open, and as the drophids ran at them he tossed the boy into it.

Raym's dark eyes widened as he flew through, arms out and his screech blurring into nothingness as the portal closed forever. Kaden kept running, up the stairs and away through the halls, the dimensionator under his arm.

Both of their sons sent beyond their reach forever, Kaden wished he could have explained to Ickabar why he had to do it. As he ran he wondered if he'd be thanked or despised.

Kaden's head fell as he ran, feeling more alone than he'd ever felt in his life.


The daybreak was a blur. Fergus did not remember how they had gotten Ickabar to the top of the hill, nor notice how dark the sky was getting. Clouds. The rare rain was coming to Fastoon, perhaps brought on by the chemicals and dust in the sky. Fastoon was not itself. It was not anything.

Ickabar's lay on the ground, his hands placed over his chest. Fergus's hands curled into fists, fingers digging into his flesh until they drew blood. Suddenly he felt everything. The pain in his leg; the shattered bone, the ache in his chest, all of the cuts and bruises, his burst lip. The dirt coating his fur and the cold sweat lingering on his skin.

He had always seen the monster in Percival. He had said so but done nothing. He should have seen it coming. He didn't take his own warnings seriously. And this was his punishment. Alive and alone, Ickabar dead below him along with his broken family. Like it had been before. Fergus knew that it should have been him that died, both times, yet the universe took the innocents and left him with the ache.

And he blamed the universe again, as if some being was pulling all the strings for sick amusement. No. The universe was not responsible, Tachyon was. And Fergus was responsible for not being quick enough or smart enough to protect Ickabar and his family from a threat that had been hovering for years.

His legs shook with the pain and thunder cracked above him. He felt the rain, cold and bitter as it began to fall around him in showering finality.

He gagged as the pain in his fractured leg sped up him, and he fell to his knees, his hand lashing out to steady him.

He stopped.

Fergus's head was drooped over Ickabar's. He lay the other way; appearing upside down to him, their foreheads and eyes still paralleled. Ickabar's eyelids forever closed. Fergus stared down at him as the rain hit against his back; the braid hanging limply past his temple.

His forehead fell against his, and he felt the tears spill at last.


The images came in fragments now. Ratchet lay near the graves, half awake and half asleep, drifting in and out between them. Dislodged and foggy, it seemed that without Ickabar they no longer held together. They where blurred, dim, less colourful. With each memory that came, they grew fainter. Despite the sickness side-effects, Ratchet almost tried to cling to them. He knew nothing of what happened to the others. Knew nothing of where Ickabar had placed his work. Perhaps he'd never know, now that he was dead.

His eyelids too heavy to lift, his mind spun. Why had he been shown this? What was the Lifeforce's plan? To merely cause him pain...?

Getting closer.

Ratchet's body jerked. His mind snapped back to the notes on Ickabar's desk. Something getting closer. Wake me up. The sickness he'd felt as he'd lain here, every second he'd been falling further and further into this dark place to the point that the last time he'd been with Clank felt like years?


He pushed himself onto his hands, then his knees. The ache he felt was like a weight or chain trying to keep him down on the ground. His eyes lifted and he saw Ickabar's grave. In his mind he saw him lying there, eyes fluttered shut. How could he bring him justice, bring them all justice, if he gave up like this?

Ratchet was finally on his feet, feeling more nauseated than ever, but doing his best to clear his head. He'd search Ickabar's house again, if this was a dead end. Find another lead – follow the others to the library where that book of his apparently was. If this was a waste, maybe he'd just have to get over it.

Ratchet took a step. Something knocked him over; a sharp gust of wind slamming him back onto the ground. He gave a grunt of annoyance.

What the heck?

But as soon as he'd gotten to his feet again, the real world dissolved. Ratchet's eyes felt like the only thing still working, yet all he saw was blackness ahead of him. His whole body had lost its feeling, and he couldn't even breathe. Petrified.

He tried to move, cursing in his head. He couldn't stay here. This whole thing was messed up and he didn't have time for it.

It is not over. There is still more. At the end, you will know where to go.

Like reading words on a page, the sentence appeared in his head. Ratchet's eyes stung as he tried to blink. The blackness around him began lightening into a familiar landscape.

Only at the end will we wake up, Ratchet.


Ratchet and Clank: Lifeforce Chapter 38
Sorry for the long wait, Christmas and New Year had me busy and I'll be taking an exam soon as well as having poorer health, so yet again another wait is coming. I hope you don't feel cheated by this chapter, I felt we needed to remind ourselves of other plots going on as well as pausing the feels for a second. Ickabar's friend's stories are tied up soon after this.
I hope the writing isn't becoming overly dramatic.

The part between Trisby and Clank was written while listening to this:…
It sets the mood.

Next chapter: Ratchet and Clank: Lifeforce Chapter 39
So I passed my recent exam and I'm studying for another. I've been using a different technique of drawing as people have seen, and I've mentioned, but I noticed the outlines looked a little...not sharp. So I made the image for the robot one with Thunderstick much bigger, and I think I got much finer lines.

This year has sped by and I thought last year was fast. With exams, works and assignments and whatnot, the year went all too fast. It doesn't feel like a year, really.

Since I'm working on Lifeforce mostly, I'm afraid any new (and perhaps more interesting fanfics) are on a stand still, though I doubt people on this site will mind. Just a quick journal on what's going on, and to inform that since Christmas is approaching less stuff will be going up.

I did my firest Request not long ago, apparently it worked out well. 



:iconthefonzplz: :icongoofygrinplz:

Ratchet and Clank Stamp by Ben-Anderson
.:Ratchet and Clank stamp 4:. by dannyphantom300
Land before time stamp by Sony-ShockStamp: Bravestarr by Gatekat Cragmite OC Support by WolfzenStamp - Dallas and Juanita by Lurking-Leanne
Cragmite Empire Stamp by HlTLER
Aaaahhh What by MiharuWatanabeI love ReBoot by thebadkittyCrash Bandicoot stamp by RobinBaxterButt

Dr. N. Tropy Stamp by xSweetSlayerxSly 4 stamp~ The Ancestors by SeeraphineClassic Spyro Stamp by RadSpyroN.Brio Stamp by angelblood
Well the internet adapter broke, and we have no idea when it'll be fixed. Where I am we had to get a new one installed, but its not working right even then. That, coupled with a giant end-of-year unit (I know that its January, but the project we're working on in my college spans out till at least April ) I probably will have limited time online. I'll be writing as much Lifeforce as possible and I'll try to find openings to post it, but even now I'm speedily trying to write this journal from a borrowed laptop. 

Bear with me, people who know me here and people who are waiting on Lifeforce. This year's going to be hectic and the internet problems just amplified it. I'll be glad for when this summer comes.


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Dracunnum Featured By Owner Jan 22, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you for the fav ! :glomp:
smeagolisme Featured By Owner Dec 24, 2014  Professional General Artist
MERRY CHRISTMAS, TOO! :merry christmas: Merry christmas everybody Christmas Dance Christmas La Christmas- Deerling Christmas Carol Two :xmas: 
What-if-Writer Featured By Owner Dec 24, 2014
And to you :iconchristmastreeplz:
smeagolisme Featured By Owner Dec 24, 2014  Professional General Artist
Thanks SO MUCH for the watch!!! ^^
What-if-Writer Featured By Owner Dec 24, 2014
Welcome ^^
lombaxartist Featured By Owner Nov 25, 2014  Student Digital Artist
Happy  birthday!
What-if-Writer Featured By Owner Nov 26, 2014
Thanks ^^
lombaxartist Featured By Owner Nov 26, 2014  Student Digital Artist
Your  very  welcome!
DitaTheBulldog666 Featured By Owner Nov 25, 2014
What-if-Writer Featured By Owner Nov 25, 2014
Thanks you XD
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